|the view from my window: Maison D'Isabe, Arguenos, Haute Garronde, France.|
I am on holiday. I am living an American Dream, at least a middle-class fantasy.
I am for two weeks living in the Pyrenees mountains of southern France, a 19th century stone farm house hung with ancient family photos and furnished with comfortable antiques. There's a sunny terrace out front where we take our breakfasts, overlooking a mountainside of bellowing tan cows and invisible, roaring stags. The radio receives nothing but Rachmaninoff and "The Fountains of Rome" and "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." The fridge is full of exquisite butter, apricots, pears, black-olive confit. There are bottles of Bordeaux and Boujolais and St. Emilion, fizzy water and apple liqueur (which is nasty.)
We went all together to Lourdes, a Catholic healing spa/Disneyland. We went to Pic du Midi, a heart-stopping drive to the tippy-top of the Pyrenees, where the Tour de France bicycle race comes to a head. We looked into the night sky, and saw the Milky Way. We hiked up the mountain and saw lizards, cows, eagles, a badger. We saw the hand-prints of prehistoric children on cavern walls, (were they humans? Was this artwork what made them into people?) and a medieval church built with the scraps of the nearby ruined Roman town, (sic transit gloria) that in the shadow of the hulking monastic cathedral perched on the hillside above (the monuments to triumphant Christianity now government-run tourist commodities in an extremely secular society.) Thousands of years of humanity, all that remains of individual lives now long lost to history.
|Libby and Dave|
Sadly, even its perfect Autumn days are still subject to the passage of time.
Miguel left first. (Such a beautiful man, why do my friends all live so far away?)
Today I drove Libby and David to Toulouse to get their airplane home. (dear God, when will I see her again? I love her so much!)
I do not like cities, or traffic. I did not linger long.
And so they all are gone now, and I am here alone.
The maison is no less lovely, or old, or resonant of the family that lived here for generations. If there are ghosts, they don't bother with Americaines.
I can stay another whole week if I want to. Paddy is doing just fine at home.
I feel guilty for this. I do not hold down a job. I don't go to work every day, or have a limited number of vacation days each year. My entire life, in a way, is a holiday. I don't deserve to be here.
I should do something spectacular and creative with this splendorous solitude. I should outline a new story, or start a new book, or draw pictures.
But I think I may just think with it.
Consider how much time remains, and what is possible. How healthy am I?
I must consider the things I dream of, and how much work and risk and sacrifice I am willing to take on to pursue those dreams... am I getting a bit too old to be pitching myself into plans without set time limits?
|the room where I am thinking|
I am lazy -- maybe it's that amazing butter. (we never use butter at home, the olive oil is so good!) A friend in Madrid writes with an intriguing proposal, but it looks like so much work... so much shmoozing, so many people..!
I am lazy, or depressed. I want to be alone.
The clock ticks. None of us knows how much time remains, how long the sun will keep shining on the terrace, how long the Bordeaux will hold out, how soon we have to get back on the plane and head out across the concrete and into the grey sky.
Into forgetfulness, into history.